Use clever copy to improve conversion rates on your membership website
If you want to convert more website visitors into new members for your membership website, or any type of subscription website, write compelling copy. Use emotional copywriting to twist their heartstrings (eharmony.com) or tap into all the ways your product will benefit the new member (ladders.com).
Below are some wise tips from our Executive Content Director Mary Van Doren who has mastered the art of writing landing page copy for every type of subscription website.
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1. List benefits, not features
Mary says her favorite copywriting strategy is to create a list of benefits. This is a bulleted list of ways your membership website can improve the life of the reader, when they become a member. Using a list of benefits to sell your membership website does three things:
1. They make copy easier to read. “They break up the copy so it’s not just a gray eye exam, and readers who skim can settle their eyes on them,” says Mary.
2. They engage the reader more than a list of features. Because benefits actually benefit them, whereas features benefit you.
3. You can make each benefit actionable and personalized to the reader. Mary says, “I always use an action verb at the start of each item, and bold it, again to catch they eye of skimmers and if nothing else, leave an impression of dynamic, powerful products.”
For example, here’s a list of benefits that Mary recently wrote for a client:
This guide is designed to help you …
- Thoroughly understand erosion and sedimentation problems
- Master the known regulations and required documentation
- Identify specific SWPPP training, NPDES training, CGP education and certifications required to work in many states
- Learn which BMPs are proven for erosion control regardless of where you work
- Appreciate the new trends in green infrastructure, both economically and environmentally
- Successfully navigate the maze of current and future federal regulations
- Approach any new construction or soil removal project with complete confidence
If you’re a membership site like Ancestry.com, where your revenue comes from new members, and the “content” you provide to new members is other members and their profiles, then your list might be a little different. For example, Ancestry.com uses these as their list of benefits:
- Discover your immigrant ancestors and learn more about your family’s homeland in detailed passenger lists, border crossings and more
- Learn about your ancestors in more than 60 countries outside the U.S., including the UK, Ireland, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and more
- Explore all our U.S. record collections including birth, marriage, death and census records detailing occupations, ages, siblings, birthplaces, addresses, and more – even maiden names
- Connect with millions of other Ancestry members to ask for help, share ideas, make discoveries and possibly discover living relatives you never knew you had
- Organize, preserve and share your family tree online with advanced tools that help you grow your tree and upload photos and stories
But not everyone does this well. Here’s an example of a paragraph from eHarmony.com’s membership website, which talks about features, rather than benefits:
eHarmony is committed to helping singles find love every day, and with over 20 million registered online users, we are confident in our ability to do so. The eHarmony Compatibility Matching System® matches single women and men based on 29 Dimensions® of Compatibility for lasting and fulfilling relationships.
Can you see how different the copy is? The benefits from Ancestry.com tell the reader what’s in it for them, whereas the feature-focused copy from eHarmony is more me, me, me focused. To see if your content is too feature focused, see if there are more instances of “we” and “us” than “you” and “your.”
2. Create a problem and solve it
“Also it’s always fun to set up problems,” says Mary. “The scarier the better — and tell readers how the products will solve them.”
For example, see how Electronic House promotes one of their free reports:
Maybe you’ve walked out of an audio store with your credit card smoking – but without any idea if you really just spent your money wisely, or if you’ve just been had by a smooth-talking salesman.
That’s an uncomfortable feeling, and it can get worse if you’re not happy with the home audio system you wind up with.
All of this is why EH Magazine– the authoritative, fastest track to the smart home lifestyle – created this FREE report, Home Stereo Systems: How to Choose the Best Sound Bar, Audio Receiver, Music Servers & More.
If we apply this strategy to membership websites, then we find ourselves at TheLadders.com where they not only have a list of benefits, but they also play into fears using words like “anxiety” and “control” when they say The Ladders is “taking the anxiety out of your search” and assisting you in “taking control of your career.”
- Find a New Job: TheLadders wants to save you time and take the anxiety out of your search. We use our deep analytics to only show relevant jobs, interested recruiters, and the insights you need to understand where you fit into the job market.
- Improve Your Career: TheLadders wants you to take control of your career. We provide in-depth, user-generated data points to help you get what you want – whether it’s a raise at your current job, or just a better understanding of where you stand in the job market and what your next move should be.
- Find Great Talent (100% Free Recruitment Resource): TheLadders is a free resource that delivers only the most qualified, relevant candidates to hiring professionals, so you can close your time-to-hire.
3. Excerpt content from the product
In this example from Warfare History Network, Mary uses eye-catching details from the report in the subheads throughout, again to catch the eye and give a skimmer an entry point to the copy.
- Wine for the Chaplains, Condoms for the Rifles
- ‘You can’t pull heroes off the assembly line’
- A Veil of Tears Hung over Bedford
When you run a membership website, the best way to do this is to use testimonials as part of your copy, since your minimum information unit is basically the profiles of your members. On backstage.com, another membership website, they include testimonials near calls to action, like:
“Backstage landed me three lead features, MTV and Google commercials, two short films, and several music videos all in five months!” – Taylor Lashae
Now it’s your turn. Which copywriting tricks do you use to convert more visitors into members?